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Bembé, the Yoruba festival of homage and devotion to the Orishas

Bembe orishas

The touch of joy, of dancing, of the fullest fun, of that special communication that links devotees and Orishas. Those are the characteristics of the Bembé, the festival that pays homage and celebrates the Orishas, ​​the gods belonging to the Yoruba Pantheon.

Is this an extraordinary celebration the practitioners of the Rule of the Ocha they sing, dance hard and play various types of percussion instruments in a call to the Orishas, ​​so that they come down to celebrate as well.

Bembé, possession and honor to the Orishas

During a Bembé, the Orishas are the protagonists.

All the members of the Yoruba pantheon are praised, greeted and then asked to join the party by riding, tell themselves of the possession through the trance, of one of their present priests, who is highly honored for sharing his body with a of the deities.

For this process, the call of the drums is used along with the particular dance that characterizes the Orisha being invoked.

And through rhythms and dances that have been performed for them perhaps, for thousands of years, the deity is implored to appear and enjoy the celebration.

The drums are the quintessential symbols that have accompaniedañaFor centuries these ritual celebrations have been used as elements of music and also of communication with the deities.

The batá drums and the drummers Experts in practicing the powerful rhythms that speak to the Orishas, ​​they are essential in every Bembé.

Prayers and prayers in the Bembé

Both the rhythms produced by the drums, as well as the dance or dance, represent requests and prayers for the deities to come down to bless the devotees and are distinguished by the characteristics of each Orisha in particular.

In other words, the movements of the dances are the same as those associated with the way the deities move.

Each orisha has its own dance, for example:

  • The Yemayá dance simulates the movement of the waves
  • Oshún's dance is sensual and imitates the way of combing in front of a mirror
  • Oggún's dance indicates the cut with the machete,
  • The dancers move haughtily and without stopping, simulating the powerful fire of Shango
  • For Obbatalá, the dance is slow and leisurely

Possession and trance, the Orisha is present

In the Rule of Osha (Santeria) Possession through Trance is an important part of each Bembé. If the deity is convinced to join in the celebration, he enters the body of one of the priests consecrated to him.

In this process, the person is said to be «mounted» by the orisha, or that the orisha "has gone down" to bless those attending the celebration and to cleanse the bad energies, so that possession is a source of honor and immense joy for the devotees.

The babalawos indicate that, on some rare occasions, the Orishas mount an aleyo who has not been initiated to the priesthood, thereby making it clear that that person in question needs to be initiated into the religion as a priest or priestess.

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